March 13, 2013
Fuel studies have shown that diesel fuel starts to deteriorate and form solids within 60-90 days after refining.
As this change occurs, naturally accumulating particulates increase in size and mass. Heavy deposits are soon to be found in the filtration equipment and sludge forms in tanks and other fuel system components. This sludge (or “algae”) is the most common cause of clogged filters, loss in engine rpm, excessive exhaust smoke, and damaged fuel injectors.
Additionally, water condenses inside fuel tanks wherever there is open space, Correspondingly, it is highly advised that tanks be maintained at full levels. NFPA 110 recommends an annual test of your diesel fuel by sending a sample to a laboratory for analysis per ASTM Standards.
So what should I do to manage my diesel fuel properly? You have a few choices:
1. Use up your fuel within two years.
Why two years? It takes approximately that long for the deterioration of the fuel to become serious. If you “turn over” your fuel within that period, you should be OK. This means if you have a 100 gallon tank, you should burn 100 gallons in two years.
But what if you can’t? Then you should...
2. Recondition your fuel.
What does this mean?
It means you remove the contamination from the fuel every two years. This process is a called fuel polishing.
Fuel polishing systems use multi-stage filtration, enabling sludge and water to be removed from the fuel tank. Fuel additives are introduced as well. These additives work in conjunction with the filtration process to ensure the fuel is free of particulates, sediment and water.
Typically, the cost for this service is about half the cost of new fuel.
3. Drain & refill with new fuel.
This is the easiest and quickest approach. But it is also the most expensive.
The net result of active fuel management is clean tanks, enhanced combustion, elimination of carbon deposits, reduction in harmful emissions, and lower fuel consumption.
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